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Ariz. Supreme Court Reverses Decision in Adult Bookstore Case

Lower court must closely scrutinize state law restricting business hours
Ariz. Supreme Court Reverses Decision in Adult Bookstore Case
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Oct 11, 2008 10:00 AM PDT    Text size: 
PHOENIX — The Arizona Supreme Court has overturned the dismissal of charges against two adult bookstore owners who were prosecuted for violating a state law that restricts their business hours.

In its opinion in State of Arizona vs. Stummer and Lumm, written by Vice Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, the high court also published a multi-pronged test that it came up with to allow lower courts to determine whether the state law violates the First Amendment guarantee to free speech.

Hubert August Stummer and Dennis Allen Lumm were originally charged for violating an Arizona law that “forbids adult bookstores from remaining open during certain early morning hours,” according to documents. Under that law, Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1422 (A), adult bookstores are required to be closed for business from 1 a.m. to 8 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 1 p.m. to noon on Sunday.

Stummer and Lumm were convicted in Maricopa County Superior Court. They appealed in 2007 and won on argument that another court found the Arizona law unconstitutional.

Writing in her appeal, Justice Berch said the high court justices considered whether adult businesses caused “increased prostitution and sexually oriented litter in the surrounding communities.”

To help decide the case, the Supreme Court set up a three-pronged test that to guide the trial court. To decide whether the hour restrictions are constitutional under Arizona law, the lower court should consider “evidence of the significance of the infringement of speech, the effectiveness of the statute in reducing negative secondary effects, the nexus between the ends sought and the means employed, or the availability of alternative measures,” Berch wrote.

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